ATLANTA (AP) – Brad Hand threw seven strong innings and drove in two runs with sacrifice bunts and the Miami Marlins ended a six-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Sunday.
In the second inning, Hand (2-2) was retired at first base as Cole Gillespie scored from third. In the fifth, he drove home J.T. Realmuto with another good bunt. Braves first baseman Nick Swisher tried to scoop the bunt and shovel it to catcher A.J. Pierzynski, but it wasn’t a clean play and Realmuto scored.
Hand had two career RBIs in 63 plate appearances entering the game. Dee Gordon and Christian Yelich had the other RBIs for the Marlins.
The Miami bullpen, which had been lit up for 12 runs in 11 innings in the first three games of the series, managed to preserve the win. A.J. Ramos pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his 18th save.
Shelby Miller (5-9) extended his winless streak to 15 starts. Miller went five innings, giving up two runs, five hits and three walks. He labored through two 24-pitch innings to start the game.
The Braves had won three straight overall and six in a row over the last-place Marlins.
Jonny Gomes homered to left field in the seventh inning to cut the Braves’ deficit to 3-1. It was his fifth of the season.
Hand had shut the Braves down over three relief appearances this season, allowing one run over eight innings. His dominance continued Sunday, with only Miller getting a hit in the first six innings.
The Braves threatened in the eighth against Bryan Morris, but he stranded runners at second and third by striking out Cameron Maybin and getting Nick Markakis on a deep fly to right.
The Braves managed two runners in the fifth on an error and walk, but Casey McGehee made a nice scoop at first base on a long throw from Martin Prado for the third out.
Marlins: Ace Jose Fernandez appears headed for the DL with a strained tendon in his right biceps. Fernandez (4-0, 2.30 ERA in 7 starts) returned to Miami on Saturday after his five-inning outing Friday. Manager Dan Jennings said he hopes Fernandez will pitch again this season. “I think he wants to pitch,” Jennings said. “We have to be smart in terms of where we are in this season. He’s worked extremely hard. We won’t put him out there until we know he is 100 percent. There is no need to push it or rush it.”
Marlins: The Marlins open a two-game series against the Red Sox in Miami on Tuesday. Rookie Justin Nicolino (1-1, 4.09) will be recalled from Triple-A New Orleans and make his third start as a Marlin. He made two starts in late June before returning to the minors. Knuckleballer Steven Wright (5-4, 4.12) will start for Boston fresh off a start where he held the Yankees to one run over eight innings.
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